Campus AED Program

AED Sign

A Heart Safe Campus Community

Our goal is to reduce deaths due to cardiac events.

The UC Davis Fire Department coordinates the implementation of the Campus’s Enhanced Life-Saving Program, intended to facilitate the placement of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the Campus Community.

What Is An AED? 

AED, or automated external defibrillator, are small electronic devices that were designed to allow minimally-trained people to provide lifesaving defibrillation (electric shock to the heart) to victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

Unlike the defibrillators seen on medical TV shows, AEDs are small, lightweight and very easy to operate. They are about the size of a lunch box and have adhesive electrode pads that rescuers attach to the person's chest.

An AED is very simple to use yet houses the same sophisticated defibrillation technology relied on by emergency medical services personnel and physicians.

How Does An AED Work? 

An AED is programmed to tell rescuers exactly what to do using voice and visual prompts. Rescuers attach adhesive electrode pads to the person's chest. Through these electrodes, the AED is designed to automatically analyze the electrical activity of the heart to determine if a "shockable" rhythm is present. An AED is so easy to use even untrained school children can operate one quickly and correctly. [1]

With voice prompts and pictures the AED guides rescuers through the resuscitation process, advising when to give CPR. If the AED determines the person's heart needs a shock, it tells rescuers to stand back so a shock can be safely given through the adhesive electrode pads affixed to the person's chest. (Note: Some AED models will tell the user to push a button to shock and then ‘stand clear’ of the victim, while others are fully automatic and will automatically give the shock after giving rescuers a 'stand clear' warning.)  

The delivery of an electrical shock to a heart experiencing SCA briefly stops all electrical activity in the heart. This brief break from the previous electrical chaos can be enough for the heart to restart with a normal rhythm.

Not everyone can be saved from SCA, even with defibrillation. But early defibrillation, especially when delivered within three to five minutes of a person's collapse from SCA, does provide the best chance for survival.

AED location point.

UC Davis Public Access AED Program FAQs

  • What is the cost of an AED?
  • The AED package available for the campus Public Access Defibrillator program, which utilizes a Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 fully automated AED, has an initial cost of approximately $1900 before taxes and shipping (as of 1/1/2018). The package includes a Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 Fully Automated AED, Soft-sided AED Carrying Case, Metal Wall Cabinet, ReadyKit (gloves, pocket mask, shears, towelettes, etc.), Primary and Secondary Adult Defibrillation Electrodes.

    For departments that choose to implement child-sized electrodes (which deliver an attenuated level of joules), those electrodes are sold separately and cost approximately $100.
  • What are the maintenance costs of an AED
  • AEDs have defibrillation electrodes and a battery that expire, at different intervals. The electrodes (both adult and child size) have a shelf life of two years, while the battery is warrantied for four years, and in our experience, requires replacement at five years.

    The AEDs themselves are warrantied for seven years by the manufacturer and do require replacement as technology lifespan dictates.
  • Once our department has an AED, how do we maintain it?
  • The department AED coordinator, of the department that requested the device installed, is responsible for monthly device checks, as described in the campus Public Access Defibrillator program policy, which is available on our website.
  • Why must we purchase AED replacement accessories directly through the FD?
  • The campus AED coordinator at the Fire Department is tasked with tracking the readiness of campus AEDs, to maintain compliance with standards on pre-hospital lay responder care. Additionally, the Fire Department has secured a competitive contract with a vendor to obtain replacement accessories and ensure proper warranty replacements when applicable. Additionally, by filtering purchases through the Fire Department, we ensure that accessories are compatible with the particular AEDs in use across campus, as well as those systems used by first responders in our region, for continuity of care.
  • How is an AED’s installation location chosen within a building?
  • The campus AED coordinator or delegate will work with the department receiving the AED to identify an area that serves the visibility of the publicly accessible AED, as well as a location that meets ADA and building code requirements.
  • Do individual buildings maintain AEDs?
  • Maintenance of AEDs consists of two aspects: monthly checks completed by the recipient department’s AED coordinator or their delegate (steps are described in greater detail within the AED policy), and software updates/recalls and hardware updates, which are coordinated by the FD.
  • How do you assess which buildings would benefit from having AEDs?
  • AED deployment is largely driven by the department’s appetite and ability for funding the program. The Fire Department does not have a financial mechanism to fund the deployment of AEDs, so the departments desiring a unit must come up with a method of paying for the initial installation as well as the accessory upkeep (replacement battery and pads as described above).

    In terms of strategic deployment, we prioritize installation in buildings that have a greater likelihood of seeing the AED used, either because of the usage of the building (pools, gyms, etc.), the density of people utilizing the facility (large assemblies, etc.), or the distance from another AED or fire station (like Hopkins Service Center or the Bodega Bay Research Center). As all campus fire apparatus and police patrol units carry AEDs, occupancies in proximity to our station are typically better served byshort AED deployment times. As time is of the essence in a cardiac arrest, strategic deployment seeks to reduce the time between collapse and AED use.
  • Can campus AEDs be used on children?
  • Some campus AEDs have been outfitted with specific pediatric defibrillation pads (not attached as the primary set, but rather in the AED’s storage case, due to infrequency of demand), based on the receiving department’s desire to provide and maintain this additional accessory. Departments housing an AED in a facility with a high volume of children (defined as under the age of 8 or under 55 pounds in weight) can decide to include pediatric pads in their order. Common locations on campus with pediatric pads include aquatic facilities.
  • Has a campus AED ever been used on someone?
  • Yes, the campus AED program has had a small number of devices utilized both on campus and at the Health System campus since the program inception.
  • Why does the campus have a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program?
  • It is commonly understood today that the idiom “time is brain” is in fact correct. Brain tissue requires oxygen to survive, and oxygen deprivation, such as that experienced in the absence of circulation as a result of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) or other cardiac emergencies, can quickly cause irreversible damage to brain tissue.

    The purpose of an AED is to restore a normal cardiac rhythm to the patient, through the delivery of defibrillations to the heart muscle, allowing for the perfusion of oxygen-carrying blood to the brain.

    By making AEDs accessible to the public and offering CPR/AED certification and instruction, we aim to reduce the time interval between sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and return of normal rhythm.

    The use of an AED is an easy skill to adopt, and every additional citizen responder in proximity to an AED is a greater chance of saving a life.
  • How are AEDs are managed on campus?
  • Oversight of the Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program on campus is provided by the Fire Department, which runs the program per the program protocols found here. The steps are as follows:

    1) A campus department identifies desire to obtain an AED for a building in which they reside or oversee.

    2) They read the policy/protocol linked above, and obtain a financial commitment from their department for the initial costs (~$1900) and recurring maintenance costs for replacement accessories (~$100 every two years for electrode replacement and $400 for battery replacement ~5 years).

    3) They commit to providing training for a minimum of one person (for up to 5 AED deployments), though we strongly encourage (and offer!) widespread training. Training must result in issuance of a two-year Red Cross or American Heart Association CPR/AED certification card.

    4) Department completes application for AED (appendix document of policy linked above), attaches photocopies/scans of one or more employee CPR/AED certs, and sends via email at

    5) FD completes the order of the device(s), and meet with the department’s designated AED coordinator to identify a compliant installation location.

    6) The AED package arrives, and FD turns it over to the department for installation through Special Services (requested by the department receiving the AED).

    7) The department’s AED coordinator follows the protocol for monthly maintenance and checks, and contacts me for accessory replacement/AED usage reporting/questions. If the FD is notified of recalls/updates/issues, the FD will personally provide service to the device in coordination with the department’s AED contact.